Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Family Health Plus Buy-In: A Practical Solution for Small Businesses

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

August 7, 2009








Although policy experts consider statewide expansion of the Family Health Plus (FHP) buy-in state-subsidized health insurance program a leading option to achieve universal coverage in New York State, key design and implementation issues have yet to be addressed.

The Community Service Society (CSS) of New York will complete an analysis of FHP buy-in expansion by examining New York’s and other states’ programs, providing an actuarial analysis of premium setting, identifying solutions to implementation and eligibility challenges, and interviewing stakeholders.

Employees of New York State’s small businesses struggle to find comprehensive and affordable health coverage and currently comprise more than 40% of the State’s uninsured population. CSS will identify feasible ways for small businesses to offer health insurance coverage to their employees using the FHP buy-in program. CSS will examine the organizational and financial structure of employer buy-in programs in other states to guide the structure of New York State’s program. An independent actuarial analysis will help determine optimal premium rates, and whether these rates should be calculated on an individual or group basis. Adapting a public program for employers and employees presents implementation challenges that this project will address, such as eligibility, the selection of health plans, enrollment process, and employee status changes. CSS will gather more information through conducting interviews with current employee and employer participants, and organizing a roundtable session toward the end of the project for feedback from a diverse set of stakeholders. CSS will then produce a final report of findings and recommendations for implementation of an expanded FHP buy-in program.

Read the report associated with this grant, “Expanding Affordable Coverage for Low-Waged Workers: Fixing the Family Health Plus Employer Buy-In.”